asian

Tensai Ramen (Rotterdam, Netherlands): Handmade Noodles in the Center of Rotterdam

THE STORY

I remember in our early explorations of Rotterdam, the Ramen Marauder and I were on the tram heading back home. We passed the sign for Tensai Ramen, and we quickly saved it on our Google maps. Later, it popped up on my Instagram newsfeed from Liyen Food Moments, and recently Lazy Pig Passion mentioned they are making a video about Tensai.

It was all promising information. People were raving about the newly opened ramen shop and only had good things to say.

Tensai Ramen Restaurant Black Tonkotsu Noodles Rotterdam Netherlands Holland

What made me less eager to try it were the pictures of the noodles. Why weren't they yellow? Why didn't they look curly and springy? I had read that they were made in the shop, but I just wasn't convinced by the photos that these noodles were worthy of my attention.

But since when did food photography become the authority on what to eat? I kept reading that these noodles had great texture, and that this is quickly becoming a favorite spot in Rotterdam, so we checked it out.

Tensai Ramen Restaurant Interior Rotterdam Netherlands Holland

At this bustling intersection by the Beurs train station, Tensai Ramen has large windows that keep the noise to a minimum. The inside is modestly decorated, with (as seemingly always) a handful of tables.

We went around 4 p.m., when the restaurant was at a lull. By the time we left, however, the tables were filling up quickly, and some were eager to take our table.

Tensai Ramen Restaurant Black Tonkotsu Noodle Soup Rotterdam Netherlands Holland

THE REVIEW

Look at this bowl of black tonkotsu ramen noodles. When I look at this picture, I see that perfect little soft boiled egg nestled in a bed of broth, the corn gently sprinkled across the bottom of its yolk. A couple strips of bamboo lay beside it, sharing a piece of nori like a pillow, resting on a bed of noodles. It's peaceful, like the calm before the storm of my spoon and chopsticks coming to destroy.

This is a bowl of ramen that you will want to savor. Enjoy a spoonful of just broth, then maybe a pinch of noodles, followed by a spoonful of broth, noodles, and a few kernels of corn. Take a moment to appreciate the texture of the bamboo and the black mushrooms, contrasted with the crunch of the corn and the spring of the noodles.

I always try to save the egg towards the end of my ramen experience because I want to savor the richness the yolk adds to the broth. Sure, I could beat it up with my chopsticks and mix it into the soup to be enjoyed throughout the meal, but more often than not, I just can't. The few bites I was able to take of that egg, accompanied by a spoonful of broth and noodles, were luxurious.

I highly recommend Tensai ramen for the seasoned ramen eater. A newbie will also enjoy it, but beware: it may ruin other ramen shops for you.


Tensai Ramen, Schiedamsedijk 1, Rotterdam, Netherlands 3011 EB

Little V (Rotterdam, Netherlands): The Vietnamese Restaurant That Has Everything

THE STORY

I had been craving pho noodle soup for a while. I wanted a steaming bowl of delicate yet sturdy broth, the squeak of beef balls between my teeth, the refreshing crunch of bean sprouts between slurps...have you ever had that feeling?

I presume you have, which is why you're here on this blog.

Little V Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup

On this sunny summer evening, The Ramen Marauder and I headed towards the City Center (Centrum) to satisfy my craving at Little V. The pictures I'd seen made me curious - it looked trendy (not usually something I look for in an Asian restaurant), but the food looked so legit.

There was a ton of outdoor seating, though half of the tables were reserved. Our waitress came over and explained the menu, which was much more extensive than I had expected. Also, there were plenty of wait staff (if that's something you're into).

We noticed tables around us sharing large platters of what appeared to be noodles and crepes. For just the two of us, it seemed a bit much, but I look forward to going back and trying more dishes with more friends.

Because the food was, indeed, legit.

Little V Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands Spring Rolls with Nuoc Cham

THE REVIEW

First, I recommend the house-made lemongrass ginger iced tea. On these warm Dutch days, it'll be the perfect thing to wash down your spring rolls and pho.

When the pho arrived, I'm not sure I spoke more than five words from beginning to end - I couldn't stop stuffing my face! More than just a great bowl of broth, there was a substantial balance of noodles and meat as well, enough so that nearly every spoonful had a bite of meat and pinch of noodles. While there wasn't Sriracha and hoisin on the table, they do provide a small of the two sauces together (not mixed!). And they even had Thai basil. I had almost forgotten how its sweet, anise aroma adds such depth to pho.

The spring rolls were a perfect addition to our dinner. Although we received them after we had eaten our pho, we still had a comfortable amount of room for them. I've never seen so much greenery included with an order of spring rolls, so I chose to roll up the spring rolls with some of the lettuce and mint and dipped it in the nuoc cham. Right or wrong, it was delicious.

Little V Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands Vietnamese Coffee

And to finish the meal, we ordered Vietnamese coffee, which came with a lovely shortbread cookie.

Everything - the pho, the spring rolls, the sauces, the Vietnamese coffee - came in these typical Chinese-patterned blue-and-white bowls. It was a strangely familiar touch to the experience.

If you are looking for a beautiful dining experience and a great bowl of pho, Little V Rotterdam is the place to be.

BONUS: The bathroom was super cool.


Little V (they also have a location in Den Haag), Grotekerkplein 109, 3011 GC Rotterdam, Netherlands, +31 10 413 11 91

Codung Sushi (Nuremberg, Germany): From Rumor to Reality

THE STORY

Côdung Sushi was recommended to us by DTV: Daniel Television (a.k.a. Taylor Made to Travel) at the beginning of 2018. While Nuremberg isn't far, our first opportunity to try it was when we went to see Avengers: Infinity War at the end of April.

Nuremberg has one of two theatres in the area that shows Original Versions (OV) of American films; however, it only shows OVs of select blockbusters, and the screenings are limited. For example, there will be at least one OV screening per night of the opening weekend, but after that, there may be only one OV screening per week.

We expected Avengers: Infinity War to be a big deal, but there was only one OV screening scheduled for its opening weekend: Thursday, April 24 at 11:45 p.m. in Nuremberg. On one hand, it was daunting that we wouldn't get home until around 4:30 a.m. On the other hand, it meant we could finally try Côdung.

Codung Sushi Japanese Asian Food Nuremberg Germany

THE REVIEW

Located just inside the perimeter of the Mitte, our table was on the second floor of the modestly-sized establishment. We each ordered our own appetizers and sushi platters: I had the spring rolls and a "Menü 7," while the Ramen Marauder had the seaweed salad and the...well, I'll get to that. The Menü 7 consisted of a California roll (4 pieces), a salmon roll (4 pieces), and then 2 pieces each of salmon, tuna, kingfish, and bream nigiri. It also came with a salad of mostly shredded daikon and a couple leaves of lettuce. It was all light, refreshing, and filling (in the way that sushi can be filling). And for those who care, the crab in the California roll was imitation.

The Ramen Marauder ordered the fried spicy tuna roll, but he also received the fried tuna crunch roll. We were all quite curious as to what it was: it had a green-tinted outside layer, and none of us had ordered anything like it as far as we knew. It turned out the color came from green rice flakes, not wasabi, and it was filled with cooked tuna, Japanese mayo, avocado, cucumber, and roasted onions. I didn't know what it was until later, but to me, it tasted like chicken salad in a sushi roll.

Codung Sushi Nuremberg Germany Japanese Asian Food Restaurant

If you have friends who are hesitant about going to a sushi restaurant, this may be a good place for compromise. In addition to their raw and cooked sushi options, they also have a selection of noodle and rice dishes. A friend of ours had the Bun Bo Nam Bo (vermicelli noodle salad topped with seasoned beef, coriander/cilantro, and roasted onions), which he seemed to enjoy thoroughly.


Côdung Sushi, Färberstr. 43, 90402 Nürnberg, Deutschland, +49 911 48 97 34 69